“Kosovo’s UN seat not condition for EU talks date”

BRUSSELS -- The Council of the EU did not ask in December that Serbia’s acceptance of Kosovo UN membership be discussed in the Belgrade Priština dialogue.

This is according to Beta news agency.

The Council at the time unanimously determined that “normalization of relations with Kosovo” was a condition for a date for the start of the EU accession negotiations, Beta’s sources said on Thursday commenting on German Ambassador to Serbia Heinz Wilhelm’s statement that it could be a condition that Serbia would have to fulfill in order to get a date for the beginning of the EU talks.

The sources stressed that five EU member states did not recognize Kosovo’s independence so Serbia therefore could not be asked to recognize Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence by agreeing to allow Kosovo to get a seat in the UN. They added that “permanent and tangible normalization of relations” could be achieved without recognizing Kosovo’s independence.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton’s Spokeswoman Maja Kocijančić told Beta that a “program for the Belgrade-Priština dialogue is listed in the Council of the EU’s conclusions from December 2012“ and that the “negotiations are conducted in that context”.

“The conclusions were adopted by all 27 member states and next steps regarding a date for the beginning of Serbia’s negotiations on EU membership are determined in them,” she underscored.

When asked if new conditions for Serbia would appear in March, the German ambassador said that it was important for Serbia to stop preventing Kosovo from becoming a member in European and international institutions, aside from withdrawing so-called parallel institutions from Kosovo.

The December 2012 conclusions, confirmed by the European Council, state that “visible and permanent improvement of relations between Serbia and Kosovo is necessary so both sides could have their own EU pathways without hindering each other in such efforts”.

Serbia is also requested to “irretrievably begin organizing structures in northern Kosovo that will attentively fulfill the need of the local population in terms of security and judiciary by guaranteeing functionality of a joint institutional and administrative framework within Kosovo”.

When it comes to necessary conditions for the start of the EU accession talks with Serbia, it is pointed out in the conclusions that “full respect of principles of international cooperation in which everybody would be represented, including Kosovo is necessary” in order to implement the agreements reached between Belgrade and Priština, respect regulations of the Agreement on Energy Community and continue good cooperation with EULEX.

Parliament Committee on Kosovo and Metohija President Milovan Drecun said on Thursday that Wilhelm's statement was a “deliberate provocation”.